weight loss and the law of attraction: a dialogue

yesterday, we had a guest post by david about using the law of attraction to lose weight. since david’s and my views are a bit different, i promised you a dialogue about it. so here we go. i will start with some of the ideas with which i agree:

i completely agree that our expectations are an important part of how we each create our own unique worlds. there is a lot of research that supports that, e.g. on self-fulfilling prophecies and other expectancy beliefs such as self-efficacy beliefs (the “i can do it” factor).

introducing more self-love into our lives and stopping harmful self-judgment are very important; personally i believe that they are a significant ingredient in not only improving our personal lives but also in improving the lives of those around us (hence my tagline: making lives better, making better lives).

appreciating and loving our bodies is a crucial element of this. currently, denise wilfley at washington university is working on finding out whether improved body image can have an effect on weight. it is well-known that a disturbed body image is connected to low self esteem.

lastly, i also agree that paying attention only to negative statements (“if i eat that, i’ll get fat”) is counterproductive. we shape our reality according to our attentional biases.

now let me point outwhere i don’t share david’s point of view.

we can’t deny that eating certain things on a consistent basis will make most people fat; that’s one of the main reasons for the obesity epidemic in north america. i doubt there was a big change to the negative in terms of body image in the last 60 years; but we know that the arrival of fast food and an insane amount of choice of overly fatty, sweet and salty food coincides with the rise of obesity.

also, research points to the fact that obesity does have a genetic component, and most people who’ve tried would say that “it’s hard to lose weight” is a statement of fact. i think it’s important to keep these things in mind (without dwelling on them) because they can help with weight loss. e.g. it’s useful to know that 2 cups of carrots have the caloric equivalent of one slice of bread.

david says, “when you love your body, then naturally your body will feel better and will become healthier. as this happens your body will naturally shift to fit the image that you are holding in your mind: a healthier, thinner body.” i am not sure how that mechanism is supposed to work. has it worked for you?

existing research does not show that a better relationship with one’s body results in weight loss (maybe ms. wilfley’s work will change that; we’ll have to see). also, the experience of fat acceptance people would refute the claim; people who are part of the fat acceptance movement often put much effort into having a positive, loving relationship with their body, without a resulting weight loss.

finally, david writes, “you will never lose weight while you judge yourself fat. that is rule number 1.” unfortunately, that is not true at all. the people who arguably have the worst problem with body image – people who struggle with anorexia or bulimia – do precisely that. so does just about every other person who diets.

summarizing all of this, i’d say that when aiming towards a healthy body weight, it’s useful to pay attention to how our minds shape our uniquely experienced version of reality, and to love our bodies. it is also important to keep in mind that a positive body image does not equal a weight that your doctor would be happy with; and that body weight is correlated with caloric intake, exercise, metabolic rate and genetics.

and of course, let’s not forget that much of this is very individual. i don’t doubt for a minute that improving one’s body image can be the solution to someone’s weight issues (which is different from saying that it is the solution for everyone).

it is interesting to note that a large-scale study on the effectiveness of various treatments for obesity recommends intensive counselling as the best approach. since the best counselling is counselling that is tailored to the individual’s need, i would hope that those for whom improved body image holds the most promise will receive exactly that type of intervention.

over to you, david and of course you, dear reader – what do you think? what’s your experience?

(this article was included in the 50 best blog posts on the law of attraction

72 thoughts on “weight loss and the law of attraction: a dialogue

  1. 1.flagstaff attorney

    weight loss i don’t think is a dialogue because we need a lot of effort in loosing some weight stop eating less , go for an exercise. thats all hard work not a dialogue. law of attraction seems to happen to every creature so its not a dialogue at all

  2. Magriet@

    Motivation is important, but I agree that a positive attitude toward your body will not result in weight loss.

    What is also true though, if a person battle with emotional eating, feeling better about yourself may well result in you eating less and then weight loss may follow.

    I think what we have to keep in mind here is that each person is different and what works for one is not necesssarily going to work for the other.

    What is indisputable, though is that you will have to make an effort to eat right and do some moderate exercise, no matter how much you love yourself!
    .-= Magriet@´s last blog ..How To Identify Fad Diet Plans #2 – You Are Not Allowed To Do Any Exercise =-.

  3. Louise

    Well said and I do agree. Weight loss is yes about self love but so much more. One aspect I would like to add is the effects of toxins and the lack of nutrients in our foods.

  4. Kristen

    I am really starting to think that this whole “weight loss” focus is wrong. We need to be focused on “healthy living” and then everything else will follow…(like natural weight loss, longer life, cleaner arteries (heart health), better skin, and generally happier life) That, to me, makes a whole lot more sense! Thank you so much, Kristen K.

  5. isabella mori

    i agree with you, kristen. when we reflect on what makes truly feel good, we’ll automatically start to do things that are good for us. e.g. overeating to the point of stupor never feels good. so a question like, “what can i do to make sure i stop when i feel really full?” can be a great start.

  6. Jason Smith of Obesity Terminator

    Great site!

    Ever wonder why you start panting after climbing even only 10 steps of the stairs? Tired of looking for the right size of clothing to fit your body? Or worse, do you always get people to notice you, yet at the same time discriminate you?

    Terrible as they may seem, but these are just some of the countless bad effects of obesity.

    It’s true…

    Take it from me because I have been there. And it wasn’t fun – even just bringing it back to mind can be so frustrating.

    But I didn’t lose hope. I made an extra effort to study what causes obesity and how it can be treated. Thus, I alloted enough time to perform what I have learned.

    And now, I have achieved the perfect body weight and figure I have always wanted.

    Like me, I’m sure you can do it.

  7. isabella mori

    hi jason and others … jason, i like how you say “i made an extra effort … i allotted enough time …” i think consciously putting in time and effort to deal with any mental health issue (i certainly see this as a mental health issue) is very important. and also HOW we spend that time and effort. hmmm – that’s something to write some more about in another blog post …

    “like me, i’m sure you can do it.” i’ve always seen this as a two-edged sword. on the one hand, the message i hear is, “it was really hard for me and at times i didn’t want to do it but in the end i did; because i was so thick-headed i think anyone can do it.” on the other hand, the message that often arrives is “come on, it’s not so hard, i managed to do it, don’t be so lazy/boneheaded.” in the latter, the person often does not feel heard.

    what do you guys think?

  8. Pieterdeb @ Acai Berry Loss Weight

    First of all I like to thanks you for sharing this information, because this is one of the best postings I read on the internet. And yes… I think it starts all in your mind. Be positive… Take the time to make it visual in your mind and start. Positive state of mind and taking action are the key to success and loss that weight… Cheers
    .-= Pieterdeb @ Acai Berry Loss Weight´s last blog ..This Is A Do Follow Blog – Comment Luv =-.

  9. Exercises For Love Handles

    Great information. I have been using the law of attraction in my life for over a year now and have loved what it has done for my health. I believe that we control so much of our physical appearance from our habitual way of thinking. Weight loss is something that needs to move from the conscious to the sub-conscious mind for it to become effective.

  10. Jane

    I have to agree with Bi Sadong, if you can picture the end result and know that it is going to happen then you will lose the weight. But if you are feeling negative about everthing and thinking that it is impossible then the chances are you will probably give up.

  11. Kendall

    Have you heard of the new upcoming movie “How Thoughts Become Things?” I just saw the trailer at http://www.HowThoughtsBecomeThings.com It is a question I have had since seeing the Secret, but it really hasn’t been answered very well. I hope this film will do a better job. It claims it will tie the Law of Attraction to modern Neuroscience in a way that will be applicable for everyone. I think that if they can provide these answers it will be wonderful!

  12. Su

    I agree that weight loss/gain has a lot to do with your emotional state. If you are using LOA to achieve this it is important to do it for the right reasons, otherwise you are just fooling yourself. And that doesn’t work.

  13. Steve Johnson

    I agree with both actually. I do think the law of attraction applies to weight loss, but it isn’t as simple as just thinking about something. It’s been pointed out in the comments already, but those who use attraction and actively involved in chaging their lifestyle. That is part of the law of attraction. Get obsessed, develop a plan, work the plan. It’s a powerful force that works.

  14. Leo Avila

    Dissatisfaction with body image becomes obsessive, together with continuing concerns about what is eaten or swallowed. So every person should know the individual factors that sustain the conflict. Each person must know what changes may occur in your body, and seek to achieve. otherwise any treatment is doomed to failure.

  15. Nevin

    I just saw the trailer on the film “How Thoughts become Things” and thought it was worth talking about here. I think this will be a great movie. The website talks about deeper lessons into The Law of Attraction, using Neuroscience and modern Psychology. The film is being made by Douglas Vermeeren who did The Opus. I am interested to know everyones thoughts. Since Rhonda Byrne has put out her book “The Power” and has apparently has no intention of doing another movie like “The Secret” is this movie the next step for all of humanity?

    Here’s the website http://www.Howthoughtsbecomethings.com

  16. Blake

    I agree. If you’re satisfied with your body image and have an improved self-esteem it will hep in losing weight and getting in shape, since you’ll be much more motivated to go the extra miles to reach your goals.

    Losing weight does need patience too and if you’re satisfied with your body image it will be easier to have that needed patience to get where you want to be, not just with losing weight but with everything in live.

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